Among the capacity entry of 90 cars for the Northside Truck and Van Donington Rally on March 13th are 18 crews from rally organisers Dukeries Motor Club.
Rallycross ace Andy Scott from Scotland is out in a Ford Fiesta S2000T. With Laura Connell on the notes, they were third overall on the Snetterton Stages which was the previous round of the MSN Circuit Rally Championship. They will hoping for better fortunes than their last trip to Donington, when problems on SS1 left them well down the order.
John Griffiths is better known as a successful GT racing driver. The Mansfield based garage owner only came into rallying seriously when Dukeries moved their events to Donington Park, he entered the first event before he had even bought a car. Having started out in Subaru’s he drove a rare Peugeot 208 T16 last season, before debuting his Fiesta R5 at Brands Hatch in January. Last time out John was fourth at Snetterton and is due to have his regular co-driver Nigel Wetton back in the co-drivers seat.

Martin Hodgson and Tony Jones are both South Yorkshire based and have been frontrunners for a number of years in a powerful Ford Escort Mk2. They were missing for a while during the longer than expected build of their new car, but have been strong challengers for class wins since their return.  They also had problems last December at Donington, but were a strong seventh overall and Class winners last time out at Snetterton.

One of the rarer cars on the scene is the Vauxhall Chevette HSR of Alasdair Stables and Neil Jones. Over the last few seasons the ongoing development of this immaculate gun metal grey car as seen them become ever more competitive. On last December’s Dukeries Rally they were fourth in class, while at Snetterton two weeks ago they made the top 20 overall with sixth in class.  Barry Dimmock and Ken Worf have masses of experience behind them, having rallied for over 20 years. They will be at Donington with their familiar Subaru Impreza that has served them well over the last few seasons.

Stuart Ranby and Ian Bass are long standing members of the East Midlands Rallying community and have rallied in Europe too. Ranby came back into rallying some years ago now after a lengthy lay-off, and has been out in a variety of Mk2 Escort’s, as well as driving tractors and other agricultural machinery around the Blyton stages.  Bass has co-driven for a number of drivers over the years as well as an occasional outing driving his own Toyota Yaris rally car.  Andy Wright and Nigel Powell are Derby and Nottingham based respectively. They haven’t been out much over the last two seasons, but their Honda Civic is now prepped and ready to go again next weekend. Ian (Pip) Coulson and Jonathan Haynes are out in a Ford Focus. Haynes has navigated for a number of drivers, but Coulson has been previously seen out in a Talbot Sunbeam.

Dean Hickling and Geoff Moss have been rallying partners for many years.  After years of action in a Sierra XR4x4, Hickling recently changed to his current Impreza, while Moss, a stalwart of the Dukeries Motor Club, has seen much success in the past co-driving with both Michael Watson and Bob Morley in the 1990’s winning the Dukeries Premier Forest Rally with both of them.
Ian and John Dove have tasted some success in their up to 1400cc class with their Vauxhall Nova over a number of years, but they have experienced a number of car related issued that have stopped them winning more awards.  Ian Haynes and Andy Tyler were at Donington pre-Christmas though and brought their Fiesta home 17th in class.

Martin Rumble’s immaculate yellow Mk1 Escort is a Donington regular. He was second placed in the Historic Class in December, but with regular co-driver Andy Newall away racing in Australia, he will have Richard Lumb alongside on this occasion. John and Richard Wood are out in their Mk2 Escort. As well contesting UK events, they have been regular visitors to the Dutch and Belgian events.

Former British Army Rally Champion George Morrison has rallied his MG ZR for a number of years, he has Jon Quintrell navigating. Andy O’Brien and Joanna Prigmore are out in a Peugeot 206 GTi, while James Greenall and Peter Scott are also Peugeot mounted with a 205 GTi.

Marina Miller and Iain Davidson in the red Nissan Micra have become regulars over the last two of seasons and have seen success winning their class in the Regional Association Championships, but for Matthew and Ellie Arnold, this will be their first ever event in their Citroen C2.  In addition to theses 18 crews at Donington there are also 6 more Dukeries MC crews competing on the Malcom Wilson Rally in the Lake District Forests on Saturday 12th March.
The first car starts the Northside Truck and Van Donington Rally at 9.15 and after completing the 7 stages  (54 miles) they are due to finish the event at approximately 5.00pm,

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Report by Peter Scherer